Shashi Tharoor | Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg
Shashi Tharoor | Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg
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If one ever had any doubt about the extent to which political polarisation has swept across India, allow me to offer myself as Exhibit A. About a month ago, as a trenchant critic of the CAA/NRC project from the start – I was the first to oppose the introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament – I was assailed by what was supposed to be “my own side” because I suggested that it was unwise for some Muslim protesters to raise specifically Islamic slogans, when their prospects of success lay in maintaining as broad a base of support as possible.

The issue, I said, was not about Islam as a faith, but about the constitutional rights of Indian citizens irrespective of faith. I was condemned for allegedly disrespecting Indian Muslims even though I had been, and was still, fighting for their rights.

My condolence did it

Barely had I drawn breath when a second round of condemnation came from the same quarters. This time it was because a respected veteran of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), P. Parameswaran, passed away on 9 February at the age of 93. He had been a long-time resident of Thiruvananthapuram, and therefore was a constituent of mine as his Member of Parliament (although, of course, he supported my BJP opponent in my three elections).

In common with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, but also along with Kerala’s Communist Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, and the Congress Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, I expressed my condolences at Parameswaran’s passing. Since I was in Delhi for the Parliament session, I could not go to his home, as the latter two “Left liberals” did. Instead, I tweeted: “Saddened by the passing of Kerala’s veteran RSS pracharak P Parameswaran. As founder-Director of Bharatheeya VicharaKendram, he lived in Thiruvananthapuram. I met him once& we discussed many issues at length. Disagreement never involved disrespect. OmShanti”.

That’s when the proverbial dung hit the fan. Hundreds of responses flooded in on social media, accusing me of being a closet Sanghi, claiming I had revealed my “true colours” as an alleged Hindutva bigot, and parodying my condolences. Several Twitterati urged me to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), where, according to them, I truly belonged.


Also read: Not Kunal Kamra, the real test for Indian liberals is Sharjeel Imam


No ‘grey’ in Indian politics

I could have pointed out that I had more than 30 years of published work at odds with what the BJP and the Hindutva movement stood for, but that was irrelevant to my critics. Even logic doesn’t matter: if there ever was a time for “secret Sanghis” to come out in the open to claim multiple benefits, it was during the last six years, so why would anyone remain a “hidden sympathiser”? But so far has our polarisation gone that “Left liberals” admit of no other possibilities: one must be either for the RSS, or against the RSS. I had said kind things about a member of the “other side”, and therefore I was one of “them”.

One of the things the 20th century is supposed to have taught us is that few things in life are black and white, that much of human reality involves complex, alternating shades of grey. The one field, however, that is exempt from this simple principle is Indian politics. Our political life and discourse are the last refuge of Manichaeism, the doctrine that divided the world into mutually incompatible ideas of good and evil.

After all, what exactly had I done? I had just expressed my condolences on the demise of a 93-year-old elder, a resident of my constituency, someone I had met, a Padma Vibhushan recipient, a scholar and writer with a differing point of view. The titles of his books reveal an inquiring mind, and a well-read one: Marx and Vivekananda; From Marx to the Maharshi; Sri Aurobindo – The Philosopher of the Future; Glasnost, Perestroika and Indian Communists; Hindu faith and Indian Communism. These books created so much debate in Kerala politics that the great Communist leader and former Chief Minister E.M.S. Namboodiripad authored critical reviews of these titles to challenge Parameswaran’s arguments in the Communist Party of India (Marxist) newspapers Deshabhimani and Chintha.


Also read: You can’t cancel Modi, RSS: Why US-style identity politics won’t help Indian liberals’ fight


Becoming the ‘hate figure’

My critics sought to draw an analogy between my condolence and praising a terrorist. But Parameswaran had never been accused of any crimes, or of statements instigating violence. He was a founder of the BJP along with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani but, unhappy with active politics, retired to Kerala and declined Vajpayee’s offer of a ministership or governorship. He was an independent thinker despite his lifelong affiliation with the RSS, willing to challenge his own side and engage with a critic like myself. In short, the only crime Parameswaran could be accused of was defending an indefensible political ideology that I have opposed all my adult life. That didn’t make him a hate-figure to me.

But my mourning his demise apparently has made me a hate-figure to many of the very people whose torch I have been carrying in Parliament and outside it, in countless speeches, interviews, articles, and books. A lifetime spent articulating liberal and pluralist values weighs little, it seems, against a condolence tweet for a former RSS pracharak.

There’s something terribly wrong with this picture. Why shouldn’t our politics allow for mutual expressions of respect across the political divide? Why shouldn’t we be able to see or hear the good things said or done by those we fundamentally disagree with and oppose? Jawaharlal Nehru was remarkably cordial to, and respectful of, the opposition parliamentarians who routinely savaged him and his policies, and even took criticism on the chin from some of his own party MPs. One could disagree with a party’s ideology, worldview or policies as a whole, but find common ground with its leaders on some things. But we have reduced our politics to black and white today: either for or against, nothing in between. “Fifty Shades of Grey” could never be the title of a book about Indian politics.


Also read: Indian liberals missed the mark yet again by protesting ‘la ilaha illallah’ in CAA debate


Disservice to democracy

This view of Indian politics, reinforced daily by social media, vitiates our political discourse. It reduces democracy to a zero-sum game where everything done by one side is automatically bad and unacceptable to the other. It explains the destructive opposition politics during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)’s tenure, when the BJP ferociously opposed even those policies that the party itself had worked for, merely because they were being implemented by the Congress. It precludes the possibility of fair-minded debate and prevents the public from seeing Indian politicians as well-rounded human beings with minds of their own. Instead, everyone is reduced to a stock caricature, defined in absolute terms by their party affiliation alone.

This is a disservice to Indian democracy – which, as economist and philosopher Amartya Sen has pointed out, is supposed to be a process of deliberative reasoning, resulting in the best outcomes for the nation as a whole. Democracy is supposed to be an ongoing process, one in which there must be give-and-take, dialogue, and compromise among differing interests. Let us not reduce it to a game of kabbadi. Although unlike kabaddi, don’t hold your breath expecting the score to change.

The author is a Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram and former MoS for External Affairs and HRD. He served the UN as an administrator and peacekeeper for three decades. He studied History at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University and International Relations at Tufts University. Tharoor has authored 19 books, both fiction and non-fiction. Follow him on Twitter @ShashiTharoor. Views are personal.

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62 Comments Share Your Views

62 COMMENTS

  1. This is exactly what is happening with many of the independant thinkers. If they agree with some of the policies of current government they are directly labeled as Bhakths or anti Muslim, when actually speaking there is no relationship in topics. We are glad that Shashi Tharoor came out openely to write against this act. I congratulate him for his openness.
    Difference of opinion should be respected in a elegant way & not labelled as black or white immediately distancing the person.

  2. yes , they want you to be copy cat of what the party bosses decide from time to time and not to nirture an opinion of your own -the age of clean politics is long gone -you can not show respect to a person on the other side even if he deserve it -that is the meaning of the now stale word vote bank politics-for congress minority votes are very important for obvious reasons –

  3. that is what they want you to be -a stock character defined by party ethics which id unfortunately votebank politics -clean politics and respect given to others in opposite camp is long gone -if you utter their name you are marked for criticism

  4. We must offer respect to the dead, regardless of differences and past experiences, differences enemitt lives till the person breath and with person death everything to be buried.

  5. IN THIS ARTICLE YOU ONCE AGAIN UNKNOWING TO YOU, ACT AS THE VARNISH MAN FOR THE RSS
    No other organisation has distorted history and incessantly preached hate against a minority community today like the RSS.
    The RSS was only matched in recent times in Rawanda, where this type of poison spread in an organised way led to the massacre of the Tutsi.
    As a historian have you read and interpreted the writings of Golwalker where he called for r-#@pe of Muslim women, put into practice in the Surat riots where r&#£pe was filmed by the RSS cadre. In the Gujarat riot Rx#@pe 2002 was used as a weapon. The late Pracharak who has your sympathy preached the poisonous ideology of Golwalker.
    Think of the drip, drip of poison the RSS has put into Indian society for seventy years, the distortion of history, till today when Muslim children attend school in Hindi belt states they are shunned like Jewish children in Germany.
    This strategy of othering we all saw clearly at the Delhi elections, but this is not new, hate is used for political gains, but communal riots many dozen since our Independence have been used by the RSS, many thousands of the poor mainly Muslim have been murdered.
    The damage has been done a new and manufactured Hindu identity has been created by projecting a historic imaginary wrong against A Hindu nation and people, that never existed in the past.
    We all are Hindu or Hindustani including the Mughuls, Tipi Sultan, Shivaji the soldiers of the 1857 mutiny.
    We are all children of India and were so in the past. There was no such thing as the Hindu religion it was the caste system always.
    The RSS founded by Maharashtra Brahmins has created a imaginary group, and called it Hindu religion as distinct from another group the Muslims.
    They have turned one child of INDIA against another by creating an imaginary history and an imaginary collective wrong. The RSS has based its ideology on on the fiction that it spews out as historical fact , directed at pure unadulterated hate towards Muslims.
    This is the harm the RSS has caused my country. It is a grievous harm and Muslims now pay with their lives, we walk in fear of the hate around us and the lynching.
    That is why your sympathy towards an RSS PARACHARK WAS WRONG, you have been criticised because a man of history should not normalise the fascist RSS.
    You promoted what according to you was the acceptable face of fascism.
    As a man with westernised thinking you know all good men in Europe have zero tolerance towards racism, they ensure an enlightened governance with zero tolerance.
    You are a man who aspires to government, be enlightened and show zero tolerance towards fascism, do not make it acceptable.

    • Muslims despise anyone who is not their advocate, forget their critic. RSS has been studying their psyche since 1925 and exposing them at every opportunity. Lie after lie has been heaped on RSS by all political parties who know the Muslim weakness for flattery whose votes count to them more than anything else for their political survival or survival of India as a unique civilisation. After the BJP came to power Muslims are suffering from acute withdrawal symptoms.,despite there being 57 Islamic countries for them.Muslims must introspect why there is universal hatred for them alone. Do they have no contribution to this or is it just one sided bashing of a pitiable 1.8 billion strong aggressive and assertive”minority” who proclaim “Universal Muslim Brotherhood” unlike all others who speak of universal brotherhood of man irrespective of their religion or colour? Muslims are overly conscious of their minority rights where they are a minority but there are no rights for non-Muslims in any Muslim majority country. Name just one Muslim country that calls itself secular- just one. When a dogma keeps repeating that there is “Only one god Allah” how can it call itself secular? But keep reminding us to adhere to secularism and the Indian Constitution.Secularism for them is a shield to be used against others so long they are in the minority. And they insist that this is their birthright as the entire surface of the world must be covered by the Shariah. So when the RSS keeps exposing their devious intents they are roundly abused. Had it not been for the RSS India by now would have been a Islamic country like Pakistan which was till recently part of a secular India. Despite 800 years of oppressive Islamic rule over India, it is still 80 % Hindu! Have you ever wondered why? It is because India is a civilisation and not just a landmass like other countries. If any power can defeat Islam and bring peace and harmony in the world, it is Hinduism as it has a 10,000 year time tested ethos unlike Islam that was born by violent forays into all other faiths ever since it was born a mere 1400 years ago from a barren geographical location inhabited by rapacious barbarians.

  6. IN THIS ARTICLE YOU ONCE AGAIN UNKNOWING TO YOU, ACT AS THE VARNISH MAN FOR THE RSS
    No other organisation has distorted history and incessantly preached hate against a minority community today like the RSS.
    The RSS was only matched in recent times in Rawanda, where this type of poison spread in an organised way led to the massacre of the Tutsi.
    As a historian have you read and interpreted the writings of Golwalker where he called for r-#@pe of Muslim women, put into practice in the Surat riots where r&#£pe was filmed by the RSS cadre. In the Gujarat riot rape 2002 was used as a weapon. The late Pracharak who has your sympathy preached the poisonous ideology of Golwalker.
    Think of the drip, drip of poison the RSS has put into Indian society for seventy years, the distortion of history, till today when Muslim children attend school in Hindi belt states they are shunned like Jewish children in Germany.
    This strategy of othering we all saw clearly at the Delhi elections, but this is not new, hate is used for political gains, but communal riots many dozen since our Independence have been used by the RSS, many thousands of the poor mainly Muslim have been murdered.
    The damage has been done a Hindu identity has been created by projecting a historic imaginary wrong against A Hindu nation that never existed in the past.
    We all are Hindu or Hindustani including the Mughuls, Tipi Sultan, Shivaji the soldiers of the 1857 mutiny.
    We are all children of India and were so in the past. There was no such thing as the Hindu religion it was the caste system always.
    The RSS founded by Maharashtra Brahmins has created a imaginary group, and called it Hindu religion as distinct from another the group the Muslims.
    They have turned one child of INDIA against another by creating an imaginary history and an imaginary collective wrong. The RSS has based its ideology on on the fiction that it spews out as historical fact , directed at pure unadulterated hate towards Muslims.
    This is the harm the RSS has caused my country. It is a grievous harm and Muslims now pay with their lives, we walk in fear of the hate around us and the lynching.
    That is why your sympathy towards an RSS PARACHARK WAS WRONG, you have been criticised because a man of history should not normalise the fascist RSS.
    You promoted what according to you was the acceptable face of fascism.
    As a man with westernised thinking you know all good men in Europe have zero tolerance towards racism, they ensure an enlightened governance with zero tolerance.
    You are a man who aspires to government, be enlightened and show zero tolerance towards fascism, do not make it acceptable.

    • Your calculated propaganda scares the daylights out of me that people like you walking and talking in India (if you are indeed an Indian). Sheesh, so much bile and so many lies! You need to come out of your radicalization camps and read some books!

  7. I fully support Shashi Tharoor. He has done a right thing. Some disgruntled politicians found everywhere spread hate and mischief. They should be ignored.

  8. What shashi tharoor mentioned is totally right, it is a matter of different ideologies, does not mean you should not maintain relation with the other person. Even in our personal life, difference of opinion is always there, does not mean you will shun your near and dear ones.

    • That is not what he has realised. His whole point is that there are people with extreme opinions on both sides and that he doesn’t understand why he was labelled a bhakt for tweeting about an old RSS person from his constituency. But along comes someone like you and does exactly the same thing. “Shashi Tharoor realised that so called liberals are close minded extremists”. No, he didn’t. You are doing exactly hat he has mentioned int his piece. Seeing things in black and white. There is no difference between someone who thinks he’s an RSS stooge and someone who thinks that all liberals are closed minded extremists. He’s talking about you here, Sir. Please have the patience to understand what he’s trying to say. Thank you.

  9. Shashi Tharoor is great n proud Indian.
    My comment is people will keep commenting whatever you do,however sincere you are,
    But your great n honest work for a peacefull n prperous India should never slow down bcoz of the few people’s comments.
    Even Prophet Muhammed gave respect n stood up when a funeral procession of jew religeon man in
    Madina was taken in the street.
    It is the duty of every human being to condole when the other persons sole departs this world.
    Political difference of opinions should be up to our wordly affairs n our ideology but not a parmanent
    Enemity.

  10. Now you may know why people of this country have a view on this group. These people are from one belief. For them brotherhood is only among their religion not any outside.

    • The view expressed here is as inflexible as the one it accuses the ‘other’ of. Shashi is speaking up against this behaviour by both poles.

  11. Lol.

    Liberals = Islamists + Evangelists + Casteists + Hinduphobics + Communists etc

    What’s liberal about any of the above? NOTHING

    Muslims and Chrisitians hate the KAFIR/HEATHEN HINDUS with all their might and call their Gods SHAITAN/SATAN’s with the aim of converting them all and destroying their Dharma. That’s the BINARY you see.

  12. It is sad to see a well intended honourable and civilised justure of expressing condolenece when passing away of an human being is being criticised .
    I deplore those criticisms.

    Dr Tharoor, you have done the correct and civilised thing. Bravo Zulu. Keep it up . Ignore the criticisms of the fringe elements, we find in in any society

  13. I understand and fully support Mr Tharoor. I have a similar experience when I expressed happiness at AAP victory in Delhi. My so-called ‘liberal’ friend reacted with astonishment: ‘..but you were Modi supporter….’. So, I cannot agree with Modi on one issue and with AAP on another! It has to be a ‘lock-stock-barrel’ support – either this way or that way ! Supreme irony.

  14. It is important to defend the center and be inclusive. Shashi is doing a good job of defending the center. To be inclusive, the people who want to express their Islamic identity peacefully need to be able to do it and the family of a deceased RSS man needs to be able to receive condolences too. The only behaviour that should be utterly condemned is the one where violence is involved – be it sexual violence towards women or stoning of dalits or lynching of muslims or offering bullets to “traitors”.

  15. To radical islamists anything that doesn’t end with an Islamic caliphate is treachery. The Hindu left needs to open their eyes and see what Islamists have been doing world wide before sinking their ship on the Islamic shore.

    • How to silence the Hindu Left ? Ask about the injustice done to the Kashmiri Hindus who are refugees in their own country courtesy the Religion of Peace. You will see the Hindu Left scattering like a bunch of deer at the sight of a tiger.

  16. Sir, you can’t be a secular unless you are ferociously and blatantly anti Hindu . Only non Hindu and hindu haters like Sonia,Rahul,Priyanka are secular for this’peaceful’ community.

  17. Whatever written in this article is a non-issue and Shashi is just trying to be in news on some silly pretext. Even Indira Gandhi regularly used meet with RSS Sarvasanghachalak and may be no one accused her of being a secret Sanghi but even if some one were to do so, it would hardly matter. In fact, given Shashi’s St. Stephanian intellectual background, he should spot an opportunity to write his 22nd book on RSS and the (dark) future of India. But he ought to acknowledge the transformation that RSS has undergone over the years and the fact that it is now firmly in the national mainstream. Modi, a chai wala Sanghi, has once for all sorted various legacy issues like Art 370, Ram Temple, Triple Talaq etc and buried the Congress politics of divide and rule along with minority appeasement. Hence, all opposition parties are now forced to bank on soft Hindutva! This is Modi’s seminal contribution of to the Indian politics. What does Shashi offer?

  18. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=4693046604053731&id=100000453149310

    From Mullaa Nasar…..
    വീണ്ടും വീണ്ടും ആവർത്തിക്കുന്നു

    എൻ്റെ നാഥാ!

    എതിർ വീക്ഷണങ്ങൾ സഹിക്കാൻ
    എനിക്ക് പ്രാപ്തി തരിക!
    ആളുകളെയും അവരുടെ അഭിപ്രായങ്ങളിലെ ശരിതെറ്റുകളെയും
    ശരിയായും സമഗ്രമായും ഗ്രഹിക്കാതെ
    വിധിതീർപ്പ് കൽപിക്കാതിരിക്കാൻ മാത്രം എന്നെ ജ്ഞാനിയും ബോധവാനുമാക്കുക!

    മനുഷ്യർക്കും
    അവരുടെ ചിന്തകൾ, ബന്ധങ്ങൾ എന്നിവയ്ക്കുമിടയിലെ
    വൈവിധ്യങ്ങൾ തിരിച്ചറിയാൻ
    എന്നെ സഹായിക്കുക!
    എങ്കിലല്ലേ
    എനിക്കവ ഗ്രഹിക്കാനാകൂ.

    ~ അലി ശരീഅത്തി

  19. It’s not that simple Mr Tharoor! RSS has espoused an ideology of hate all along it’s existance the results of which are onto fruition today. The country is divided as never before. These are no small things. The Bra- ha- minical thought process imposed by RSS is so virulent that a Dalit living in this country can’t even think of equality. RSS even today talks of ” Samajik Samarasta and not Samajik Samanta! It has never thought that all communities are equal.
    Having said this, Mr Tharoor is well within his right to feel sad about a senior citizens demise but in that case he need not have tweeted but should have attended the
    ceremony.
    I

  20. To see readers comment I have to write a comment otherwise comments are not visit. Is this problem unique to me or all other readers are also facing this problem.

  21. I am glad that at last Shashi Tharoor realises left liberal is not after all very tolerant. n If anything, social media has made tolerance a very volatile liquid. Communists are never known to have tolerated dissent. It is a building with only entry, no Exit.

  22. This man was a member of the RSS
    I as a Muslim feel the same way a Jew would feel when someone is sympathetic to a member of the Nazi party.
    “Saddened by the passing of Kerala’s veteran RSS pracharak “ Mr Tharoor this man was a RSS leader a PARCHARK who a follower and admirer of the writings of Golwalker.
    How would a Jew feel about you praising a devotee of Hitler. Praising a man who was a leader in a Nazi organisation. Would you be saddened by the death of a British BNP leader, or a leader of the British National from.
    The RSS is responsible for the great majority of our communal riots since independence, has blood of Muslims in its hands, an organisation that spreads hate and poison.
    Perhaps the RSS does not raise the same emotions in you as it does in Muslims.
    To us a pogrom in Gujarat where babies were thrown into the fire, is no different to Nazi thugs shooting Jews in pits.
    You are not with us Muslims think, your mindset is wrong, the trouble is that the RSS fascism has become so normalised that even your mind has been subconsciously communalised

    • Sorry for my language

      If there was no rss no Hindus would have survived

      Hindus are less violent and physically capable on average

      And Muslims have a lot Alot of funding From foreign groups

      They have arms they can fight and protect us

      Also they are involved in humanitarian word
      Check what they did when was hit by a tsunami

      Hindutva is about making India a civilisation all state
      The idea that India is more than a 75 year old country
      And if you believe in that idea
      I think you would be happier in Pakistan

      Liberal Muslims chose India I don’t know what Changed

      You can immigrate to Pakistan maybe you would be happier

  23. One more example of leftist cabal showing intolerance to any thing associated with RSS. Can they ever be called liberals. Shashi Tharoor should also stop demonising RSS just to get nod of RSS haters.

  24. That is the problem with inclusivity that the indian “liberal” establishment is currently facing. While the RSS has no problems with both internal dissent as well as leaders reaching out to ideological opponents, the “liberals” unfortunately live in a black and white world. No wonder the RSS is successful.

  25. ”it was unwise for some Muslim protesters to raise specifically Islamic slogans” No point telling them, they will never listen. For them, their life begins and ends with religion.

  26. Shashi Tharoor has finally discovered how intolerant his ‘left liberals’ fellow mates are. They regularly boycott people and events who don’t support their world view. Thanks to the left stranglehold in leading Indian universities, they have a brute majority among the intelligentsia, and come us with sophisticated explanations for their stand. Most of their opponents, the ‘right liberals’ haven’t had the benefit of JNU like scholarships to do post-graduate degrees, and tend to be more crude in both their criticism and in their justifications of their stand.
    Shashi shows us his cleverness and command of the English language by saying, “the only crime Parameswaran could be accused of was defending an indefensible political ideology”. Do I need to say, that for anybody the opposing ideology IS always indefensible? Using this kind of language only adds to what he criticizes as a black and white approach!
    Given his standing, I would be happy if Shashi set an example by not making critical comments in black and white terms.

  27. Though critic of Tharoor but this article is written from the heart and expresses his genuine some values which had been hidden, yes we have to be more mature and broadminded, extreme leftism or extreme rightism one is foul and other filthy

  28. Unfortunately leftist leaders of Indian origin in US are also equally polarized. They have been spreading blatant lies about CAA and openly condemning India for giving fast track citizenship to the religious minorities from Islamic republic of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. These religious minorities have suffered so much there. But their plight does not matter to Indian origin leftists.

    • RSS hatred has completely paralyzed the mind of the leftists who hate things done by RSS, the things that leftists themselves want to do but don’t want to do as its now done by RSS.

  29. Please ask your party to engage in positive debate in parliament.l have mentioned on many plateform to appointment you or Jayram Ramesh as party president . Please not that even people want a credible opposition.Which is missing.

  30. The left-liberals (leLi), smarting under the smug claim to be the sole repository of wisdom has joined hands with the sangh parivar, suffering from a paucity of critical analysis have divided the country into two hostile camps, Either you are with me or against me. The room for disagreement has shrunk to an alarming level. Perhaps, the left-liberals, devoid of the state patronage, which they enjoyed with impunity even during the reign of Vajpeyi, have turned bitter.

  31. Debate and dialogue are necessary, but Congress perhaps needs your political energy for more practical things. The elite, cocooned, detached-from-ground fantasy talk can only be a political quagmire for your party. Those critics cannot make your party win, and can only demolish it with sycophancy & cheap talk. As Arvind Kejriwal has aptly demonstrated, BJP can be countered if one is willing to avoid to be reactionary.

    • for a country which was divided on religious lines in 1947 there are only two ideologies black and white. Rest is mental masturbation which can continue for decades till peaceful community reaches 40%/45% of the population.

    • Dr. Tharoor it was the RSS and BJP that started the cancel culture . It has turned on them and sadly those who were against their cancel culture have adopted it. You cannot fight fire with fire? Anyway I’m very sorry for the loss of your friend Mrs Parameswaran. RIP to him. I
      think every man is more than the best and worst thing he has done.

  32. Gotta laugh at Mr Tharoor’s pearl clutching and his paroxysms of disbelief but this is exactly the reason he and his party remain irrelevant, He seems to forget that Indian politics changed fundamentally in 2014 where the fringe right became the centre and the rest of us just watched in horror because the alternative put forward by his party was an incoherent mess. Today, because of the ineptitude of his party and this old school, woolly headed, smarmy “both sides” liberalism displayed in this article we are in a position where elected ministers and the Centre is chanting “Goli Maaro”. Seems pretty black and white to me. And to answer your question, no, decades of scholarship on liberalism counts for nothing when you are in the political opposition and can do nothing to stop the rise of fascism because of your hubris and petty, inner squabbling. Who cares if you are being lampooned on Twitter? What are you doing to counter the Modi Shah RSS agenda? That’s the only issue you should be bemoaning in public. Please do not alienate more voters. People had to take to the srreets because your party is unable to rise to the challenge.

    • MissNooNoo, your extreme intolerance is deeply troubling. You have been so radicalized in your fascist cesspools like JNU that your identity is now deeply entrenched in blindly following your cult, you have no free thinking faculties left. I feel sorry for you, yet I can’t say I am not enjoying your frustration that your cult is being challenged for the first time.

  33. Don’t worry Shashi. They hate you because you are smart, intelligent, even funny and towers above every one else in Indian politics because of sheer intellectual capacities

  34. The left liberals are fast becoming left extremists.They should remember that Nehru included both Ambedkar and Mookerji in his first cabinet. they were no admirers of Nehru.
    Kudos to Tharoor for not toeing the extremist line and holding firm.

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