The Hitavada - - THE OPINION PAGE -

IT IS be­yond com­mon man’s wit why a man as learned as Mr. Shashi Tha­roor should make such an ab­so­lutely rep­re­hen­si­ble state­ment that India would get con­verted to Hindu Pakistan should the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) win the 2019 elec­tions. This thought­less and ex­tremely vit­ri­olic state­ment by him has, nat­u­rally, sent shock waves across the coun­try, so much so that even the Con­gress party has wished to dis­tance it­self from it. It has asked its rank and file to ex­er­cise cau­tion and re­straint while mak­ing state­ments that may hurt pub­lic sen­ti­ment and also dam­age the party’s po­lit­i­cal prospects. Nev­er­the­less, the state­ment needs an un­equiv­o­cal con­dem­na­tion by one and all as it seeks to dis­tort po­lit­i­cal nar­ra­tive pur­posely and drive a wedge be­tween com­mu­ni­ties. In fact, it may be a good idea for the au­thor­i­ties to ex­am­ine if any le­gal ac­tion could be taken against Mr. Tha­roor.

Most un­for­tu­nately, do­mes­tic politics in India has al­ways re­mained dogged by sense­less state­ments, par­ti­san il­logic, sec­tar­ian ma­nip­u­la­tions and fi­nally pseudo-in­tel­lec­tu­al­ism. The po­lit­i­cal com­mu­nity has of­ten sought to di­vide the so­ci­ety on the ba­sis of un­holy con­sid­er­a­tions. De­spite all this, it was least ex­pected that a per­son of the so-called in­tel­lec­tual emi­nence must make a state­ment that the BJP would con­vert India into a Hindu Pakistan. By mak­ing such a state­ment, Mr. Tha­roor has tried to be­lit­tle not just the BJP but also the Hindu com­mu­nity as well as the great In­dian tra­di­tion of ac­com­mo­da­tion. He should never have made such a state­ment. But now that he has ut­tered that dirty di­a­tribe, a way must be found to pun­ish the man who has au­thored many ex­tremely read­able books that added to the value and virtue of India’s pub­lic dis­course. He has of­ten ex­plained var­i­ous diplo­matic nu­ances of India’s for­eign pol­icy and has de­ci­phered what diplo­macy should mean. And now, he has come up with a to­tally un­ac­cept­able and rep­re­hen­si­ble state­ment. We con­demn him with­out reser­va­tion.

This is not tak­ing up a so-called Hindu cause; this is tak­ing up the cause of sen­si­ble pub­lic dis­course in the coun­try. This is in­sist­ing that it is time the po­lit­i­cal com­mu­nity gave up the dirty habit of mak­ing provoca­tive state­ments aimed at cre­at­ing con­fus­ing the larger so­ci­ety and philo­soph­i­cal di­vide among peo­ple. The state­ment by Mr. Shashi Tha­roor comes in such an un­holy cat­e­gory. By mak­ing such a state­ment, Mr. Tha­roor has shown that he be­longs to a cheap cat­e­gory that de­fies his in­tel­lec­tual ca­pa­bil­i­ties and pre­vi­ous achieve­ments as a world-class diplo­mat. The state­ment shows him in poor light.

We have al­ways in­sisted that the po­lit­i­cal com­mu­nity must ex­er­cise cau­tion all the time so that it does not abuse the so­cial fault-lines in India. We have al­ways stressed the need for every­body in pub­lic life to en­sure that no dis­tor­tions of re­al­ity takes place tempted by petty con­sid­er­a­tions. It is ob­vi­ous that Mr. Tha­roor is serv­ing a di­vi­sive cause and in­sti­gat­ing the Hindu com­mu­nity to re­act strongly. For, when he picks up the dev­il­ish courage to say that the BJP would usher a ‘Hindu Pakistan’ in the coun­try, all Mr. Tha­roor in­tends do­ing is to in­ject cer­tain rad­i­cal­ism in po­lit­i­cal dis­course. This is un­ac­cept­able by any stan­dard.

Though the Con­gress party has ad­vised its rank and file to ex­er­cise cau­tion while mak­ing state­ments, the fact can­not be de­nied that most of its lead­ers are en­gaged con­stantly in ef­forts to de­file the cur­rent Gov­ern­ment in which the BJP is a lead party. All such ef­forts are clearly aimed at po­lit­i­cal gains at the cost of re­al­ity. Even Con­gress Pres­i­dent Mr. Rahul Gandhi, too, can­not be spared on this count since he has made many de­lib­er­ately provoca­tive state­ments aimed at de­fil­ing the im­age of the Gov­ern­ment, let alone the rul­ing BJP. Many of his state­ments go much be­yond and paint the coun­try as a whole in bad light. Mr. Tha­roor has sought to achieve a sim­i­lar re­sult.

He must apol­o­gise to the na­tion with­out any reser­va­tion.

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