Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday launched a broadside against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s politics during a discussion on his book Why I Am A Hindu at the Jaipur Literature Festival, the Hindustan Timesreported.
“The prime minister says the Constitution is his holy book, and at the same time, he hails Deendayal Upadhyaya, who did not believe in the Constitution,” Tharoor said in a conversation with poet Arundhati Subramaniam. “You can either believe in the Constitution or hail Deendayal Upadhyaya. Doing both is troubling.”
The Congress leader, who represents Thiruvananthapuram in Parliament, said the current government seeks uniformity and not “unity in diversity”. This, he added, was a sign of dangerous times.
Tharoor’s underlying message was that Hinduism cannot be left to Hindutva, Business Standard reported. “To my mind, most of the people I know are unapologetic about being Hindus, and they do not believe in belittling the faith of others,” Hindustan Times quoted him as saying. “It is high time we take back Hinduism from them. Even some of the greatest of our thinkers, like Swami Vivekananda, did not believe in what they are practising today.”
Hindutva, the Congress leader said, is like Hindu wahhabism. “It is high time that those of us who are better Hindus than them reclaim Hinduism,” he said, according to The Telegraph.
Writer Nayantara Sehgal, who spoke about her book When the Moon Shines at Night, also attacked the “ideology of Hindutva”, calling it an extension of Hitler and Mussolini’s philosophy. “When the atmosphere in the country is what it is today, there are only two options: one, to get drunk, and the other, to write a novel, and that’s what I have done,” she said.