OCTOBER 9, 2021
Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2021, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said the history of Muslim invaders is being “instrumentalised” to demonize Indian Muslims.
“When you ask, rightly, why is today’s Muslim feeling offended when Ghazni or Ghori are denounced, the answer is because it is instrumentalised to demonize them today,” said Shashi Tharoor.
“Partition, split of the nationalist movement didn’t happen over ideology or geography. It happened on one key question – is religion the determinant of our nationhood,” Shashi Tharoor said. He added that those who believed that religion was their identity migrated to Pakistan.
Tharoor further argues, “Now we have a different ethos in power which argues that India is fundamentally a Hindu country and everybody else here is either a guest or an interloper and that the institutions and laws of the state must reflect an allegiance to a certain cultural civilisational understanding of India which has nothing to do with the idea of India enshrined in the Constitution.”
Agreeing with Vikram Sampath that a number of empires do not find mention in Indian history, Shashi Tharoor added that at the time of Independence, India did not choose to be a mirror image of Pakistan.
“In India, history was pressed into the nation-building project. There was a desire to allay over some unpleasant details, the destruction of temples, some of the horrors that happened while stressing on the commonalities that also featured throughout the ages,” Shashi Tharoor said.
Tharoor adds that right-wing historians are now “scratching the wounds” that have “already healed”.
The Congress MP from Thiruvanthapuram also said the years of Savarkar’s life after his imprisonment in the Andamans “cast a shadow” over the earlier years of his life when he was hailed as a freedom fighter.
Tharoor adds that it is not fair to say that all historians in a democracy view history in the same manner. “If the voices say that Muslims were bad 500 years ago and today’s Muslims would have to suffer for it, then I have a problem,” said Shashi Tharoor.
“I have talked about memorializing the atrocities of colonialism not because today you want us to revolt against the British because that’s history, but we must forgive and not forget,” says Shashi Tharoor.
Shashi Tharoor adds that college students should not be denied the right to be exposed to a wide variety of views and come together to their own conclusions. “Education is supposed to give you the equipment, intellectually, to discern,” he said.